Ex-Crenshaw Football Player Among Four Shot Outside USC Halloween Party

Gunfire followed an argument at the back of a line of people waiting to enter the party, according to witnesses

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Eugene Hall recalls what happened when he learned his son, Geno, was shot while attending a Halloween event at the University of Southern California. The 20-year-old was shot seven times, and three others were also struck. Witnesses say it appeared people in line began to get upset when they were denied entrance to the party. Angie Crouch reports from USC for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2012. (Published Thursday, Nov 1, 2012)

    A former Crenshaw High School football player was one of four people shot Wednesday night outside a Halloween event on the campus of the University of Southern California.

    A dispute between two non-students led to the shooting that left one victim -- identified by his father as Geno Hall -- in critical condition, according to Assistant Chief John Thomas of the USC Department of Pubic Safety. The shooting occurred at about 11:45 p.m. outside USC's  Ronald Tutor Campus Center.

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    One of four people shot outside a USC Halloween event Wednesday was identified as a former Crenshaw High School football player. Students reacted Thursday to violence on the campus. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at noon on Nov. 1, 2012. (Published Thursday, Nov 1, 2012)

    Eugene Hall told NBC4 News that his son was transported in critical, but stable, condition. Hospital officials told NBC4 that Hall (pictured, right) and another victim, Davonte Smith, were in fair condition late Thursday morning.

    Two people were detained after the shooting, said Cmdr. Bob Green, of the LAPD Southwest Division. He told NBC4 that one of the subjects would be booked for murder.

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    "Two individuals had a dispute," said Green. "The intended target is in critical condition. At one point, we know a gun came out. He was targeted because he was involved in an argument with the shooter."

    The other three victims have non-life-threatening injuries, Green said. A gun was recovered, police said.

    Witnesses told NBC4 that about 150 to 200 people were waiting to enter the Halloween event when two individuals began arguing at the back of the line. Only guests with student identification were allowed into the party.

    "All of the sudden, we heard gunshots," said student Matt Hamilton. "You hear one, and it jolts you. You hear another, so four maybe five all within a few seconds."

    Astrid Solorzano and a friend took cover against a bench as people ran from the location.

    "It was frantic," said Solorzano. "There were a lot of people who were scared. We saw tears in people's eyes."

    Fourteen Campus Department of Public Safety officers were assigned to cover the event.

    USC's Department of Public Safety had issued a Trojan Alert, asking students to "shelter in place and avoid opening doors for unknown persons," according to the campus newspaper the Daily Trojan.

    They have since sent out an alert that read: "The scene is secure at the Tutor Campus Center on The University Park campus. There is an ongoing police investigation in progress," 

    The shooting was the first violent crime reported on the USC campus this year, Green said.

    "Overwhelmingly, the students at USC need to understand how safe the campus is," Green said.

    USC President C. L. Max Nikias released a statement Thursday afternoon.

    "An argument between two individuals on the University Park Campus ended with a shooting in which one of the individuals and three bystanders were injured," Nikias said in the statement. "None of the individuals involved were USC students, faculty or staff.

    "University policy requires that any student parties on campus be open only to guests with student IDs from USC or another university. The individuals involved were not admitted to the party at any time.

    "Although this incident did not involve USC students and was resolved quickly, it strikes at the heart of the Trojan Family. I understand the apprehensions and concerns of our campus community as we move forward."

    The shooting follows the slayings of two USC students who were shot and killed April 11 several blocks west of the campus. In May, two people were arrested in the connection with the crime, which led to extra police patrols around USC.